Stena Recycling Sp. z.o.o.: Lost raw materials and the importance of recycling


Poles are increasingly aware of environmental protection and waste segregation, but the level of recycling in our country is still relatively low. Waste is an untapped potential, and many raw materials are lost because, instead of recycling for recovery, they are sent to landfill.

According to the Central Statistical Office data from the end of 2015, the landfills in Poland were filled with over 1.6 billion tons of waste. This also includes waste from companies, although a large part of these are related to the enrichment of ores or the extraction and purification of minerals.

The level of recycling in Poland, on the European Union scale, is still very low. For packaging waste it is 60%, with an EU average of 79% (Eurostat, data for 2014). Introduced in July this year, the Common Waste Segregation Scheme is expected to increase the level of municipal waste recycling, which currently stands at 26%, while 44% of total waste is landfilled (GUS, data for 2015). For comparison, Sweden sends only 4% of waste to landfills.

Waste is a valuable material. It can be recovered in various ways, including by recycling, which reduces the use of raw materials and carbon dioxide emissions. For example, producing 1 kg of recycled paper for printing reduces energy consumption by 70% compared to primary fiber production. Copper can be recycled and processed infinitely many times, while its extraction is expensive and difficult – only about 1.5% of the ore is recovered. For comparison, in old cables and installations that are recycled, copper accounts for 30 to 70% of the waste.

Waste prevention and preparation for reuse is at the top of the waste management hierarchy. Increasing levels of recovery are increasingly important for the growing demands of the European Union. Segregation of more waste, optimization of waste management in companies or designing for future recycling is a way to recover more raw materials, says Piotr Bru┼║dziak, Sales and Marketing Director at Stena Recycling.

The European Union aims to utilize the potential of waste. It seeks to introduce a circular economy that rationalizes the use of resources in such a way that materials contained in waste can be reused. The proposals set forth by the European Commission assume that by 2030 at most 10% of municipal waste will be landfilled. They also anticipate reaching 75% of EU-wide recycling targets for packaging waste and 65% for municipal waste. These changes will allow waste to gain new life in subsequent products.

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